Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

Welcome to the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

Here is a link to the San Diego County Afghan Taskforce Agenda.

The mission of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) is to provide resources and information to newly arriving refugees and immigrants in San Diego County and connect them with local service providers. OIRA is located in Homeless Solutions & Equitable Communities, a department of San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA).

OIRA is managed by the County Refugee Coordinator (CRC), who serves as the primary point of contact between HHSA and the local community on refugee issues. The CRC is also the liaison between the County of San Diego and the California Refugee Program Bureau and participates in the State Advisory Council.    

While OIRA does not provide direct services, it is responsible for the administration of HHSA’s Refugee Employment Services (RES) through a network of contracted service providers that support newly arriving refugee families’ goal of economic self-sufficiency.  Click here for more information on RES programs administered by OIRA.    

Public Charge: Please click on this link for more information regarding Public Charge.

Who Are Refugees:  Refugees are unable to return to their country of origin because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution because of race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group, or political opinion.  They are granted this special immigration status (refugee status) by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security while outside the United States. 

Refugee Resettlement Process:  Refugees are granted their immigration status by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security overseas and brought to the United States by the U.S. Department of State.  Upon arrival, they are helped through a wide range of programs and benefits.  See the infographic below for the process once a refugee arrives in San Diego County.

Services for Newly Arrived Refugees:



Link(s) to More Information

Reception and Placement Services

Initial services up to 90 days upon arrival to assist refugees in establishing themselves in their new home.


These services are offered by the local resettlement agencies (below):

Alliance for African Assistance

Catholic Charities, Diocese of San Diego

International Rescue Committee

Jewish Family Services

Refugee Health Assessment Program (RHAP)

RHAP provides newly arrived refugees and other populations with culturally and linguistically appropriate comprehensive health assessments within the first 3 months of arrival. 

County of San Diego’s Tuberculosis and Refugee Health Branch

Self Sufficiency Programs

Social welfare services available to citizens in need, include but are not limited to:  cash, food assistance, employment services and medical needs. 

County of San Diego’s Self-Sufficiency Programs

My Benefits CalWIN

County Refugee Employment Services (RES)

Employment based services for refugee families with children that are in the U.S. up to 60 months.  Services are designed to support obtaining and retaining unsubsidized jobs with the goal of exiting cash assistance.


Refugee Employment Services


Wilson Fish (WF)

Refugee Cash Assistance and Employment Services for newly arrived refugees without children.  Goals are similar to County RES services but administered through local resettlement agencies through funding direct from ORR. 

Office of Refugee Resettlement

State-Funded Immigration Services

Legal services, outreach, community education, and other immigrant integration efforts funded through the State of California’s Department of Social Services (CDSS) to local community providers.   

 CDSS Immigration Services Contractors

Refugee School Impact Program

Effective integration and education of refugee children through school-based programming in refugee-impacted communities. 

 Office of Refugee Resettlement

Somali Family Service of San Diego
  5348 University Avenue #203
San Diego, CA 92105
(619) 265-5821

For service referrals to these programs and others, individuals are encouraged to dial 2-1-1, San Diego’s resource and information hub that connects people with community, health and disaster services.

For more information about OIRA, please call 619-338-2799


Additional Resources:  Click the icons below for more information.